Google Nest Cam (battery) review


Two-minute review

Google may be a relative newcomer to the home security camera market, having only launched its first device in 2017, but thanks to handy features such as facial recognition and integration with its voice assistant, it’s quickly become a respected player in the market. 

The Google Nest Cam (battery) is the brand’s latest security camera, and is highly anticipated after Google discontinued its first two cameras at the start of 2021. It’s also Google’s first battery-powered camera, giving you greater flexibility as to where it can be mounted (it can be mains-powered if you’d prefer), and its first that works completely with the Google Home app, rather than the Nest app.

The Full HD camera is simple to use, and is weather-proof, making it suitable for use outdoors or inside. It has a 130-degree field of view, and will send an alert to your smartphone if it detects motion, enabling you to view the camera’s live feed from the Google Home app. 

As well as letting you view the incident in real time, the Nest Cam (battery) will also store video clips for up to three hours after they’ve been recorded, so you can review them, and if you pair the camera with a Nest Aware subscription you’ll be able to view the footage for up to 60 days after they’ve been captured. Nest Aware also provides access to the Familiar Face feature, that allows you to assign names to people detected by the camera, and get an alert next time they appear in the camera’s field of view.

The camera has a 6x zoom that enables you to pick out details in the videos, while HDR ensures you can see details clearly, even when the surroundings are particularly bright or shadows are being cast. It also integrates with Google Assistant, and you can view the camera’s footage on the screen of any Google smart display in your home.

The Google Nest Cam (battery) can store up to 60 minutes of video locally should your Wi-Fi go down or the camera run out of battery, and once it comes back online it will automatically upload this footage to the cloud so that it’s viewable in the app, making it ideal if you suffer with internet outages. 

At $179.99 / £179.99 /AU$329, the Google Nest Cam (battery) is a mid-range home security camera, and is ideal for those who want flexibility in where they can install their camera, or for those who want to review footage for a limited time after it’s captured without having to pay for a subscription for a cloud storage service. 

The Google Nest Cam (battery) mounted to a wall outside

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Google Nest Cam (battery) price and availability

 List price: $179.99 / £179.99 /AU$329

The Google Nest Cam (battery) costs $179.99 / £179.99 / AU$329, and is available to order now. As we’ve mentioned, this is the successor to the Google Nest IQ Indoor, which cost $299 / £299 / AU$399 when it launched, and the Google Nest IQ Outdoor, which was available in the US and the UK, and cost $329 / £329 (around AU$425) 

The Google Nest Cam (battery) is one of three Google Nest cameras being launched this year. The Google Nest Cam with Floodlight, which is a mains-powered security camera flanked by two LED lights, will cost $279.99 / £269.99 (around AU$370) while the Google Nest Cam Indoor will be Google’s most affordable home security camera, costing $99.99 / £89.99 (around AU$130). Both of these will be launched later in 2021. 

As we’ve mentioned, the Google Nest Cam (battery) will store video clips recorded by the camera for up to three hours free of charge, with Google’s algorithms determining which clips are saved based on the motion and sound identified in the video. If you want to be able to view clips for a longer period you can subscribe to the Nest Aware service, which offers continuous recording and stores footage for up to 60 days, with prices starting from $5 / £5 / AU$9 per month.

The bottom of the Google Nest Cam (battery)

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Design

Battery-poweredRequires additional accessories to be used freestandingMagnetic plate makes it easy to angle the camera

 The Google Nest Cam (battery) is a compact home security camera that measures 3.27 x 3.27 x 3.27 inches / 8.3 x 8.3 x 8.3cm (w x d x h). The matte white design is complemented by a glossy black fascia that houses the 130-degree Full HD camera lens, along with an LED that illuminates green when motion is detected, and a speaker and microphone that enable you to converse with anyone in the camera’s field of view.

The Google Nest Cam (battery) is weather-proof, and can be mounted outside or used indoors. It comes with a magnetic plate that enables you to position the camera at the desired angle when mounting it on a wall, while if you want to use the camera freestanding you’ll need to invest in an optional stand, which costs $34.99 / £29.99 / AU$59.

The Google Nest Cam (battery) is powered by a rechargeable battery, although it can also be mains-powered. It’s supplied with 3.3ft / 1m indoor mains cable, while if you’re mounting the camera outside, a weather-proof cable is available, priced at $34.99 / £29.99 / AU$59. 

Like the Google Nest Doorbell (battery), the Google Nest Cam (battery) will store up to 60 minutes of video locally if the Wi-Fi goes down, or the power is cut. When the camera comes back online, this footage will be uploaded to the cloud, and will be viewable in your timeline of events. 

Setting up the camera using the Google Home app was relatively simple, and we were impressed that during the process we were offered plenty of helpful tips when it came to mounting the camera on the wall, as well as being prompted to select how the camera behaves when we’re away from home, or inside the property. 

Google Nest Cam (battery) mounted outside to a wall

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Performance

Clear, detailed footage both during the day and at night130-degree field of view displays a slight fisheye effect Familiar Face can alert you when friends and family are spotted by the camera

The Google Nest Cam (battery) recorded clear footage both during the day and at night, while the 6x zoom enabled us to enlarge the video to see small details more clearly. The footage is recorded in color during the day, but in black and white in low light, and the camera’s HDR capability ensured that we were still able to see details in dark areas of the footage, or when the sun was shining brightly. We did find the 130-degree field of view created a slight fisheye effect in the video, although this didn’t detract from the clarity of the footage. 

The Google Nest Cam (battery) proved effective at identifying people in its field of view, as well as animals and vehicles. If the camera is used with a Nest Aware subscription you can assign names to faces of friends and family, and when you receive an alert you’ll be notified whether it’s a recognized face or a stranger in the camera’s field of view. 

There are a range of modes that allow you to arm or disarm the camera in different scenarios, and we found the geofence function, which uses your phone’s location to arm or disarm the camera based on whether you’re at home or away from the property, effective. 

The Google Nest Cam (battery) also offers plenty of customization for managing the number of notifications you get, from choosing which sources of motion you want to be alerted about, to creating activity zones so that you’re only notified about motion in those areas.  

The app used to control the Google Nest Cam (battery)

(Image credit: TechRadar)

App

Easy to navigateIntegration with Google Assistant Subscription required for facial recognition

Unlike previous Google Nest Cameras, the Google Nest Cam (battery) works with the Google Home app, which is simple to use: just select the camera from the list of Google Assistant-compatible devices in your home and you can see the camera’s battery level, as well as access its live feed, and view the full recording history or access the settings menu.

The camera will only store video clips from the past three hours free of charge, which for most people won’t really be long enough. If you want to keep and be able to view footage for longer you’ll need to subscribe to Nest Aware, as mentioned above.

There are plenty of customization options, and as well as managing how many notifications the camera sends you, you can also adjust the duration of the video clips it records, the sensitivity of the camera to motion and the camera’s volume too. 

As the Google Nest Cam (battery) is compatible with Google Assistant, you can ask Google’s voice assistant to arm or disarm the camera, and if you have a Google Nest smart display, such as the Google Nest Hub (2nd generation) you can also view the camera’s live feed on the smart display’s screen.

The Google Nest Cam (battery) and its magnetic mount on a table

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Battery life

The battery lasts up to three months between chargesIt takes five hours to fully recharge the batteryThe battery isn’t swappable

Google says the Nest Cam (battery) will last up to three months between charges, although this will depend on how often and for how long live view is activated, as well as how often motion is detected. We’re not able to confirm this based on ‘typical use’, as we’ve put the camera through heavy testing in a short period of time for this review. 

The battery took five hours to fully recharge, which is disappointing, as because the battery is built-in the camera will be out of action while the battery is charging. We’d prefer to see a swappable battery, as in the Arlo Ultra 2 and the Arlo Pro 4, so that, provided you purchase an additional battery, the camera will never be offline. 

Should I buy the Google Nest Cam (battery)?

Buy it if…

You want a battery-powered security cameraUnlike Google’s previous home security cameras, this Google Nest Cam is powered by a rechargeable battery, which offers more flexibility as to where it can be installed.  

 You want facial recognitionIf you subscribe to Nest Aware, you’ll be able to assign names to faces detected by the cameras, and get alerts when they – or unfamiliar faces – are detected in the camera’s field of view.  

You have unreliable Wi-FiThe Google Nest Cam (battery) will store up to 60 minutes of video locally if your Wi-Fi goes down, and upload it to the cloud when internet access is restored, making it ideal for those who often experience Wi-Fi outages.   

Don’t buy it if…

You want color night visionUnlike home security cameras from Arlo and Ring, the Google Nest Cam (battery) doesn’t record night-time footage in color. If this is a priority for you, then consider a camera from one of those brands. 

You want to store recorded footage locallyThis camera doesn’t store video locally, and while it will save footage for three hours in the cloud for free, we don’t think this is long enough. We would have preferred to see an option to store video locally for those who don’t want to fork out for a monthly subscription. 

You want a built-in light and sirenAlso unlike cameras from rivals such as Ring and Arlo, there’s no built-in light or siren in the Google Nest Cam (battery). If this is a key feature in a security camera for you, then it’s worth hanging on for the Google Nest Cam with Floodlight, which is due out later this year. 

First reviewed: August 2021

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